A noted attorney from California, who has represented casino developer Steve Wynn in previous successful slander suits, has called on the City of Boston to stop spreading lies about Wynn’s actions in Boston and to apologize for the conduct.
If they don’t, the attorney indicated that a slander suit is not out of the question.
In a letter to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Boston Corporate Counsel Gene O’Flaherty and Attorney Tom Frongillo, California Attorney Barry Langberg informed Boston that its amended lawsuit is more like a public relations piece than a real suit. The letter also took umbrage to the subpoenas that were issued by Boston last week alleging Wynn used private investigators to gain unauthorized access to police files.
“The purpose of this letter is to urge you to cease your campaign of falsehoods against my client and to apologize for the irreparable damage you have already caused,” wrote Langberg. “The amended complaint…, much more a public relations piece than a legal document, contained a number of false statements and untrue innuendo about Wynn. Of course, it was provided to the media at the earliest moment. Not satisfied with the damage caused to Wynn by the amended complaint, you now have issued subpoenas, again carefully worded with falsehoods for public relations effect. These subpoenas were provided to the press even before they were served. The false statements in these documents are extremely damaging to Wynn.”
Boston said it disputed the letter and stands by the amended suit.
“We dispute the assertions in the letter and we firmly stand behind the allegations in the amended complaint,” said Laura Oggeri, a spokesperson for the City of Boston.
One major complaint cited in the Wynn letter regarding the subpoenas was that private investigators working for Wynn gained unauthorized access to police files. Langberg also cited a statement in one of the subpoenas about a meeting that allegedly occurred involving Wynn employees who discussed the ownership interest of a known felon in the land being purchased by Wynn in Everett.
“This statement is false,” read the letter. “Wynn did not employ the named investigators and Wynn has no knowledge of anyone obtaining improper access to police files. The language of your subpoena was not typical legal wording but instead was designed to spread vicious falsehoods…No such discussion ever took place and the suggestion that Wynn employees knew of and discussed such ownership interest is false and defamatory.”
The letter comes on the week that a major hearing on Boston’s lawsuit is to take place in Suffolk Superior Court – on July 9. That suit, against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), could face several fates before a judge in the Business Litigation Division.
However, it could also lead to a defamation of character suit from Wynn, the letter intimated.
“You have conducted yourselves with reckless disregard for the truth because you somehow feel your actions are immune from accountability,” read the letter. “Such is not the case. Massachusetts law does not protect individuals – even public officials – from defamation liability for providing falsehoods to the media, even when they attempt to insulate themselves by disseminating the falsehoods in the form of legal documents…Furthermore, your actions have even exposed the City of Boston to liability.”
Eight citations of case law were provided to back up that point.
Langberg has successfully won a defamation case in 2012 for Steve Wynn in Los Angeles. That case was against Joe Francis, who founded the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ video company. Francis had been publicly saying that Wynn had sent him threatening e-mails about a gambling debt. He said as much in an interview with ‘Good Morning America,’ which was a key part of the case.
A jury awarded Wynn $20 million in the case.